Take the High Road

A few years ago, there was a work situation with high drama that caused a lot of meetings, stressful conversations, and grief.

I did my best to take the high road as project manager and respectfully work things through with the people involved. Trust me when I say that some days it involved a lot of deep breathing and speaking slowly, so I didn’t say what I wanted to say how I wanted to say it. 

  • Lots of “I” statements – I feel ____ when you (action) because (the results that it’s stopping us from getting).
  • Asking coaching questions like – What’s going on? What can you do differently in this situation? How can I help you succeed?

When the project was over, I was exhausted and grateful to be moving on to the next one.

Being assertive and kind doesn’t guarantee you that you get the results that you want now. But you will feel better about yourself, and you will have a positive impact on others whether you know it or not.

What inspired this post?

Today I received an email from someone involved in all of the drama, apologizing for their behaviour and their effect on the team.

I nearly fell over.

And I’ve been smiling ever since. Happy for their growth. Happy for their courage to reach out after so much time had passed. Happy to be reminded that how we deal with people every day has an impact on them.

Is there an apology that you have wanted to make? Or a conflict in which you wanted to be more respectful and kind?

Do it this week. You’ll feel better about you, and the good karma is coming. I promise.

Catherine Doucette MEd, CTDP is a Training and Performance Consultant who delivers customized business communications and leadership programs that produce measurable results. 


  1. Daniel Mark Wheaton on July 7, 2018 at 12:20 am

    I left a job I once had on terrible terms. It was my first job here in Saint John, and I loved it. I loved it until my boss and I had a falling out, destroying what had previously been a wonderful relationship. We went from being friends and working as a team, to avoiding eachother and working against eachother. About three years later we bumped into eachother at a business function. I panicked briefly, but then I went up to her and made a little small talk. Shortly after that I followed up with an apology for the way things had ended. We rekindled our friendship from that moment on and have since worked together on numerous projects. So I agree with your advice. If an apology is due, don’t wait. Don’t lose three years of friendship like I did!

  2. Catherine Doucette on July 8, 2018 at 6:44 am

    Daniel, thanks so much for sharing that. It’s amazing what can happen when we see our part in what happened.

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